OF THE SOUTHERN SONG AND KOREA IN RESISTING
TRANSLATED BY DAVID WRIGHT1
The scale of the wars waged by the Mongols in the thirteenth century was pan-Asian. After his unification of Mongolia, Chinggis khan's (1162–1227) armies swept over Eurasia with unprecedented speed, defeating and scattering all who tried to resist them. The wars launched by the Mongols against Song China and Korea, however, met with ore stubborn resistance. The Song was able to maintain a stalemate vis-à-vis the Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1115–1234) and then resist the Mongol onslaught for forty-five years, from 1234 to 1279, and Korea held out for twenty-seven years, from 1231 to 1258, before finally falling to the Mongols. Both China and Korea thus resisted the Mongols fairly successfully during the thirteenth century.
The essential elements enabling the Chinese in Sichuan and the Koreans to hold out for so long against the Mongols were precipitous riparian topography and the effective use of mountain fortresses (shancheng).2 In Sichuan, Yü Jie's mountain fortress defence system____________________